The Brexit transition period comes to an end on January 1st 2021. As regular readers of this blog will know, Northern Ireland will enjoy the dual-status of being part of both the UK customs regime and the EU’s. This means that tariffs will only be in place on goods moving from the UK to Northern Ireland that are destined for the EU, or where there is a uncertainty or a genuine risk of onward movement. However, to ensure your goods moving to Northern Ireland from the UK are not subject to tariffs or EU duties, you must sign up for the UK Trader scheme. You might also be interested in the Trader Support Service, a free service that can guide you through the process. This article will outline what both the schemes are and how to apply for them.

UK Trade Scheme (UKTS)

The UK Trader scheme became available to UK traders last week. Essentially, the scheme allows you as a trader to ‘self-declare’ goods that are not ‘at risk’ of moving on to the EU after entering Northern Ireland. As stated earlier, this means the goods sold will not be subject to EU duties or tariffs, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

This  UK Trader scheme has gone slightly under the radar, which is worrying considering the deadline for applications is the 31st of December 2020. Whilst your application may not be accepted immediately, traders will be granted a provisional authorisation for a period of up to 4 months while the HMRC processes all applications.

The scheme is open to businesses of all sizes and across all industries, so long as they operate under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It is worth bearing in mind that those applying to the HMRC for the UKTS will have to meet some basic requirements and, importantly, must be able to show that they are able to accurately declare and evidence whether good are at risk of being sold on to the EU or not.

To apply for the scheme, click here.

Trader Support Service (TSS)

In order to help businesses implement the necessary changes from the end of the transitional period, the HMRC have launched the Trader Support Service. This service will help you move goods from the UK to Northern Ireland and can complete declarations on your behalf.

The service is free to use and will guide you through any changes to the way goods move between the UK and Northern Ireland. It will also help you identify whether your goods should be considered ‘at risk’ or not.

This service is free for anyone to use, even if you are moving the goods on behalf of someone else, and works in perfect harmony with the UKTS.

To sign up for the service, click here.

Conclusion – The UKTS & TSS

It would be very wise to apply for both of these schemes before the deadline on the 31st of December, especially when one considers there is likely to be a lot of orders from Northern Ireland in January. This is because from Boxing Day (26th of December) Northern Ireland is entering a six week lockdown, which will mean the closure of all non-essential retail shops, as well as a ban on click-and-collect retail. Due to Northern Ireland’s relatively small size in terms of e-commerce, many consumers will look to the UK for shopping.

Understanding and applying for applications of this nature can sometimes be difficult, but that’s where we come in.

If you are a business who participates in cross border e-commerce, we would be more than happy to help you register for the VAT deferral scheme, file your VAT returns, and help you comply with VAT in case your account faces any issues. At J&P, helping your business is our passion, and we understand that companies across the UK are at risk now more than ever. We are here to support you through the Coronavirus crisis and Brexit, so please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0161 637 1080 or send an e-mail to